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is a word of advice, That as ever they defire their Souls should live, and be in a capacity of prospering, that they would break off, from all their dead works, and resolve, for this end, that they may be thus caft down, and lifted up, To be swift to hear, as fam. I. 19. And to attend unto the words of this life, so as it is faid to be, foh. 5. 20. The word, whereby dead Souls are quickened, Joh. 5.25,--the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. And that in order hereunto, ye would take the right way of working what ye hear upon your hearts ;. thus, or to this purpose, reason the case with your felves.
(1.) Soul-prosperity, I am now convinced, is the most desirable prosperity : And if my Soul prosper not, all the sooner, possibly, it may never prosper, for, this night, it may be taken from me. And if it do not profper, nothing will prosper with me, fo as to turn to good, whilft I live : and when I am dead; I shall be one of the most woful, and miserable Creatures, to all Eternity, that ever God 'made, next to the Devils.
(2.) If my Soul be, as I have reason to be afraid it is, still in its unregenerate state, then it is spiritually dead in sin; and while it continues so, it is in no more capacity of prospering, then a dead Tree, while it continues dead, is in a capacity of bringing forth
ripe fruit. This I now clearly fee; thoughi I did not so much as think on it before.
(3.) If I do not so receive Jesus Christ, as that Jesus Christ may receive me, into a state of Union with himself, my Soul can never live, for fo I hear from, 1 Joh. 5. 12. He that bath not the Son, hath not life.
(4:) If I would so receive Jefus Christ, as that he may receive me, into Union with himself, and I receive life from him, I must so receive the word, as to be so cast down, and so lifted up, as I have heard. Therefore, by his help, I resolve for this end to hear, yea as I am commanded, Isa: 55. 3. diligently to hear, to hearken, and to incline mine Ear: And to make application to my self, of what may be for my casting down, and for
lif ting up; that, according to the promise, iš that Text, my Soul may live.
This do, and Live.
Aving spoken something to the
first Particular : That every one ought to see it, who defires that
his Soul should prosper, that he be Spiritually alive. : I now proceed to the second, wherein two things are to observed : That if indeed ye are spiritually alive, then to fee to it.
1. That your Spiritual life be lively, and prosper.
2. That when it begins to be better, than it hath been with you, in the inward Man, then to take heed that ye lofe not the things ye have wrought, 2 Ep. of Joh. vers. 8.
I shall enter upon the former of these, at present:
1. To fee to it, that your Spiritual life be lively, and prosper ; for therein the prosperity of your souls consists. And, because every thing almost, that I have to speak unto, in handling this great, and necessary Do etrine, needs much enforcement, because much neglected, I shall, before I come to the Directions, speak fomething, by way of ar
gument, to heighten your endeavours here: in.
(1.) A Soui, that is alive to God, though burdened with a weak, Consumptive Body, and with a considerable fullness of outward blessings (both which many times, are great disadvantages ) yet may prosper. We lee it exemplified in Gaius; He was but of a weak; and crafie Constitution, that's implyed in the. Text. And he was withal, a Man of some Estate, in the World: That's implyed vers. 6. Which have born witress of thy charity, before the Church. Yet neither the one, nor the other hindered, but that his Soul did prosper. It was as fohn said ; for doubtless John was as far from giving fartera ing titles, as Elihu said, he was; Job 32. 22.
(2.). Our Souls ought to be as dear unto us, as the Soul of Gaius was to him. If Gaius made Religion his businefs, minding, above all things, that one thing which is neceffary. If he kept his heart above all keeping, So that neither Corruption from withi. in, nor Temptation from without, could set his Salvation-work backward. If he laid up his treasure in Heaven, valuing both the best things, and the worst things of the World, as something, or as nothing unto kim, farther then as they might be improved to promote the Eternal.well-fare of his L 2
Soul. All which, without doubt, in a great measure he did, and more then all this too; otherwise, he had never received this testimony from such a Man, as Fohn was; which, to his honour, hath stood upon Record, these 1600 years, and thall do to the end of the World. For as our Saviour faid of Mary, Matth. 26.13. So wherever this Epistle shall be read in the whole World, this that Gaius did, shall be told, for a memorial of him, That his Soul did prosper. Therefore, as our Saviour faith, Luk.io. We ought to go, and do likewise. For he was der no more obligation to do what he did, then we are: And our Souls ought to be as dear to us, as his was to him.
3. There is not one word to be found to the contrary in all the Scripture, but that how short loever, we come of this pattern, at present, yet if we set our selves to do, as he did, our Souls may prosper as much, as ever his did. Jesus Christ, we are sure, can make thein prosper, foh. 10. 10,-I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 2 Cor.9. 8. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he were rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we by his poverty might be made rich. Eph. 3. 20,—He is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask, or think, according to the paper, that worketh in